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No Link Between Autism and Number of Early Childhood Vaccinations

First Posted: Mar 30, 2013 02:08 PM EDT

There's yet another study that's been released that reveals autism is not linked to early vaccinations that children receive. It suggests that even when infants receive several shots at a time, they have no increased risk of autism.

The study, published in The Journal of Pediatrics, used data from children with and without autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The researchers examined each child's cumulative exposure to antigens, the material in the vaccines that cause a body's immune system to produce antibodies to fight off infectious diseases. In particular, the scientists noted the maximum number of antigens that each child received in a single day of vaccination.

The study actually found that the antigen totals were the same for children with and without ASD. This discovery points to the fact that, in fact, vaccines were not the cause of the disorder and that the total number of vaccines given at a time did not affect whether or not the children developed ASD.

About one-third of parents are concerned about unsubstantiated claims that vaccines can cause autism, according to Time magazine. In fact, the debate over whether these vaccines can cause autism has continued for years. Andrew Wakefield, the notorious researcher that produced a study linking autism to childhood vaccines, has helped perpetuate the controversy. Although his study was retracted due to the fact that he misrepresented and altered the medical histories of all 12 of the patients he examined, Wakefield has continued to claim that there is a link between ASD and vaccinations.

This new study, though, is another nail in the coffin of the debate. It reveals that vaccinating a child won't cause the disorder.

Currently, scientists believe that genetics account for 80 to 90 percent of the risk for developing autism, according to Reuters. In addition, a growing number of studies seems to suggest that a father's age at the time of conception may play a role in increasing risks for genetic mistakes that could also lead to the disorder.

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